The garment factory workers’ organisations backed by the leftist parties have rejected their representative’ and owners’ offers and announced protest programmes demanding Tk 16,000 minimum wage.
Owners’ representative BGMEA President Siddiqur Rahman proposed Tk 6,360 minimum wage while workers’ representative Jatiya Sramik League leader Shamsunnahar Bhuyian proposed Tk 12,020.
But Joly Talukder, a leader of Garment Workers’ Trade Union Centre backed by the Communist Party of Bangladesh, and Taslima Akhter, President of Ganasanghati Andolan-supported Garments Sramik Sanghati, have rejected both proposals.
Joly announced a march and rally in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka on July 20 for Tk 16,000 minimum wage.The Movement for Garment Workers’ Rights, a platform of 12 organisations of workers, has called a protest rally at Shahbagh on July 21.
The organisations will hold a token hunger strike in front of the BKMEA office on July 25 and in Chattogram on July 27.
There will also be demonstrations in the industrial areas from July 25 to Aug 5.
“The owners’ offer has made it clear that they, in collaboration with the government, are going to stage a farce in the name of raising workers’ pay,” Joly said at the media call at the CPB headquarters.
Nothing less than Tk 16,000 as monthly pay can be acceptable in line with the ILO Convention, considering the current prices of commodities, inflation and standards of the workers’ living, she argued.
They would announce tougher protests if their demand was not met within September, the Movement for Garment Workers’ Rights Coordinator Mahbubur Rahman Ismail said at another press conference.
They will organise a national convention in Dhaka on Sept 14, he said.
“Why was Tk 12,000 proposed as minimum wage for garment factory workers while the minimum pay for workers at loss-making government factories has been fixed at Tk 15,000?” asked Garment Workers’ Federation leader Fakhruddin Kabir Atik.
“Even the owners have been saying that the industry is posting a 16 percent growth,” he added.
Sramik Sanghati leader Taslima demanded fixing the workers’ wage after running a check by a ‘neutral’ agency on the owners’ financial capacity to pay.
The existing minimum monthly wage of Tk 5,300 or almost $65 went into effect from Jan 1, 2014.
The government formed a panel by including a representative each from the trade body and a labour organisation of the RMG industry to its existing four-strong permanent wage board on Jan 14 to review the pay scale.